Be Black History

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In school, there was no other month I looked forward to more than February. Finally, I get a chance to learn about my history. The people that paved the way and the ones that gave with their lives. Each story seemed to give me life no matter how many times i heard them. Why, because each one brought me closer to myself. For what is a man without his history? African-Americans only have 28 days a year for it to be nationally recognized. However, it has occurred to me over the past 4 yrs that I may very well be cementing myself in Black History. More importantly, I wasn’t the only one. Also, I believe you can join us.

If you look at African-America’s most notable figures, nobody had anything more than anybody else. Nobody had special powers or supernatural gifts. They came from an assortment of everyday backgrounds much like you or I and if things were equal, we may never have known about them. Yet slavery was a precursor to the road our people had to travel in this new country. Bound together by shackles, worked and bred like beasts, the road to freedom and equality would have to first be paid for with blood and sacrifice. Those ancestors who rose to pay that toll endured the worst. In the years after, more and more of our ancestors sought our rise in every avenue possible. Education, Business, the Arts, and Civil Rights. Our ancestors in these areas saw a need and addressed it. There were needs in our government as well and those before us addressed those too. Even though the color of their skin minimized their voice at the time, their words proved prophetic as our country still struggles with racism to this very day.

It is this very day that concerns us. It’s this very day that I want to bring to your attention. Today, is our day. There is still a need for those of us to take a step up. We have come a long way but we are not there yet. We are still being beaten and murdered by police. There is still economic and systematic Racism plaguing our community. There is a call for change that has remained constant in all aspects of African-American life in America. All that is needed is for you to answer the call where you are, in your profession, or craft. Our history is riding on the number of African-American men and women who willing to be the very best at what our culture needs right now. I am committed to making sure that my body of work adds to our culture and brings our people together. It is my goal that my work inspires the next generation of writers. My place in Black history is now. Will you join me? Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene

Holla It’s Your Money! January

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Consumer Hustle

The recent $1.6billion Powerball jackpot had people imagining the type of life they’d live if money were of no concern.  People all over the country were devising plans to have the magic mix of numbers, purchase location, and luck to win. Even though the odds of winning were 1 in 292-million; yet, the “hit the lottery” come-up gave some wistful hope at the opportunity to become a billionaire.

Seventy percent of those who come into large sums of money unexpectedly end up broke within 7 years. The most common mistakes are purchasing choices. About one-third of households are just able to live within their means and 40% are struggling – spending more than they earn. Consumer driven financial habits derail the path to achieving financial goals. Those habits are only magnified in the event of a money windfall.  The lack of knowledge on how to take control over finances creates a dependency cycle that takes serious discipline and commitment to overcome.

Many readers want to know how to plan today for tomorrow. The answer is to simply create a budget you can live with. Here are some common budget allocations: 35% Housing; 20% Transportation; 15% Debt; 20% Other – expenses not falling into the previous categories, and 10% Savings.  This first step is just one of many on the journey to taking control of your financial future. And, it’s a great engagement into the money conversation with your family. Nine out of ten married couples avoid talking to their partner about money.  

Purposeful and structured income allocation leads to financial independence.  Make it a point to ask yourself, every day, how would my life be if money was not a concern? If the top five activities involve purchases, it’s time to change your attitude about money and exist the consumer hustle.  Seeking assistance from financial professional can provide a detailed overview of your current financial situation and how to prepare for a secure financial future. Holla if you hear me.

-Karen Reynolds

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Karen Reynolds is the Financial guest Blogger for Hollaifyouheatme.com

You may email her your questions to: 4kreynolds@gmail.com

 

Welcome to the New Year

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Welcome to 2016! I thought about writing about what I have planned for your reading enjoyment this year. However, I would hate to ruin my surprises. I thought about writing something super inspirational. However, just about every blog I have read this week is doing just that. So I decided to share with you a word that I received from Bishop Corletta Vaughn on New Year’s Eve. That word is… Preparation.

In order to get what she told me, you will have to attend Holy Ghost Cathedral on East Grand BLVD on Sunday mornings in Detroit,MI. I will give you some to think about in the interim. It all starts with one question. “What are you Preparing for?”. I know you are hard at work on your brand new resolutions but why make them? What is the outcome of your hard work?

A lot of you want to lose weight. A lot more of you want more money. I know most of you want both! I want you to consider not your goal but your journey. What are you doing to prepare yourself for the end of the journey? Not physically, but mentally. There is something to consider when attacking this year and it is the same every year and it’s the number one reason why so many people fail in their resolutions. Lack of Preparation. You haven’t decided what to do when you meet your goals. Also your goal was only for this year. How can achieving your goals this year carry over into the years to come?

Prepare yourself. Not just for the ritual of making a resolution but for long term change. Use parts of your journey to lay a foundation for next year. I want to challenge you not to think in terms of  365 days but 730 days. Look forward to 2017 right now and when 2017 gets here, start laying foundations for 2019. That way, building your empire during 2018 will be a lot less hectic because you will already have a plan in place. So instead of making resolutions, we can make progress. Holla if you hear me!

-K Greene

Holla It’s Your Money! 12/21

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Real Talk

My name is Karen Reynolds and I am unapologetic in my belief that everyone can attain wealth and set it up for generations.  I believe in people being equipped to take control of their lives. Nothing worse exists than feeling defeated, consistently, when it’s your finances. I began my involvement in the financial industry as a quest for personal knowledge. Now, I have a securities license and I work as an independent representative of an international company.

Curiosity existed within me at an early age about how some adults appeared to live well with no outwardly concern about money while others appeared to struggle, regularly. The difference did not seemingly associate directly with or solely upon a particular career.  Growing-up, I executed what I thought was a well-played strategy to spend my allowance wisely – to purchase the current Right On magazines and a record or two. However, once the money was spent, it was gone until the next allowance or payment from my hair braiding hustle. For grown-folks, that money cycle is known as living paycheck to paycheck. And, 76% of Americans live this way. The struggle is real.

In this monthly guest blog, hope to share in the shaping of your thoughts and actions about money.  Sixty-one percent of adults do not keep track of their money.  The median retirement savings for 55-64 year olds is small – about $104,000. Even more frightening, 29% of households with members 55 or older neither have retirement nor pension.  Don’t let this be you!  Having a detailed overview of your finances is an essential tool to building a knowledgeable financial foundation. The information would provide clarity of where you stand financially, today –on track, shortfalls, and by how much, and is where the specific how to of your financial goals emerge. Some companies offer this customized service complimentary.

Changing financial habits must be personal and purposeful. We all want money, knowledge, and financial freedom. For that reason, content on this blog ought to reflect the realness of your financial plight. So, send me your questions. Holla if you hear me!

– K. Reynolds

Contact Me:

4kreynolds@gmail.com

Facebook.com/4k.reynolds

Twitter @karengreynolds

Power of the Black Vote

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I spent most of last year hosting a radio show called “We The Nation” on Urban Nation Radio. I focused on politics and current events. The most important message that I wanted to get out was the importance of voting. I had numerous guests and did a lot of great interviews but the voting numbers in the African-American demographic barely budged. When I went out into the community, I often spoke to young people about voting but many felt like their vote didn’t matter. They were unmoved by my knowledge and my words fell on deaf ears. I needed a bigger and better example. Thanks to Donald Trump and his meeting with those black Pastors, I may now have it.

Before the meeting ever took place, a backlash came from the African-American community once the flier was circulated. Eventhough Trump is a highly successful billionaire, many in the African American community see Donald Trump’s views as racist and unfavorable. Many of Trumps comments have done little to change this perception. Trump himself realizes that he cannot win the White House without the Black vote. So with the help of Pastor Darrell Scott from Ohio, Donald Trump reached out to African-Americans through the Church. It’s a well known fact that the church has been the center of the African-American community since the Civil Rights Movement. Also, since the Republican party has built their campaigns on Christian morals, it was a very sound strategy.

The post meeting fallout was even more explosive. CNN interviewed Black Pastors all evening and the following day. One Pastor that was featured prominently was Bishop Corletta Vaughn from Holy Ghost Cathedral in Detroit. She did not go to the meeting citing Trump has not visited the community she serves and especially his unclear views on women’s rights. What did Trump do in response? He now has a clip of two African-American women loudly proclaiming their endorsement of him for President.

Now, if you throw in the recent Senate battles on Gerrymandering and voter redistricting at the local level in urban areas along with Donald Trump’s campaign strategy, the picture is clear. Black voter power is big! The fact that African-Americans don’t embrace it is bigger! Imagine what changes in education and economic empowerment if African-Americans realize their voting power. Now that is HUGE! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

 

Special Announcement: Financial Guest Blogger

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I know 2016 is fast approaching and many of you have already started your New Year’s resolutions, As always, Finances are at the top of most lists. If not all. I want to help you accomplish this goal but I know very little about Finance. Hollaifyouhearme.com has always been about improvement. So to improve us all, I brought in Karen Reynolds. She has an extensive background in Financial Planning, Sales, and service in the Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce. Starting December 20th and every 3rd Monday in 2016, Karen will present “Holla: It’s Your Money”. She will be giving you much needed tips on having money and saving it for the long haul,  You may also email her with your questions! Time to get 2016 going on the right foot! Holla if you hear us!!

K. Greene

Your Wages Are Too High

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It’s pretty early in the race to see who will be the next President of the United States but the Republicans are in full attack mode! They feel its prime time to assert themselves and show the nation they can lead the country. They have stuck to the Republican game plan to the letter. There is one part of their plan that may cost them the entire race. The Republicans have agreed that Americans make too much money. Let me bring you to Detroit.

Detroit was just named the most dangerous city in America for the third year in a row. Detroit has always had a reputation but real economic issues underscore the findings. In 2010, Detroit’s economy collapsed along with the rest of the country. However, Jobs and wages have been slower to return than anywhere else. This is largely in part due to the auto industry which was the hardest hit. Average rate of pay for an autoworker was around $21/hr. American Axle once told it’s employees at a townhall their fully loaded wages (including benefits) was worth about $66. Since then, incomes across Detroit have been cut in half and benefits cut even further. Now we have a city full of disgruntled, formally gainfully employed individuals that are now working for far less than they used to and barely making ends meet. Hopelessness creeps through the city like a plague. Crime spikes were inevitable. Yet the Republican platform maintains that our current wages are too high.

It is safe to say that if a Republican candidate won the Presidency, that our economy will start to see lower wages across the nation. Cities across the nation will start to have the same issues as Detroit, Jobs may come but many will struggle to see anything above $15/hr. Benefits will be at a minimum with prescriptions and copays rising as they are now.  Teachers salaries have fallen in Detroit to the point that many have quit early in this school year. Income inequality is a huge issue and we will see how much of an issue in the months to come. Holla if you hear me!

 

The High Cost of Rebirth

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I came across an article written for a local outlet that made me a bit uneasy. Not only because of the obvious negative affect it had on the African American community in Detroit, but because many older Detroiters see it happening again. Early Detroit had one of America’s most thriving African-American communities. Hastings street south of East Grand Blvd all the way to the riverfront was filled with African-American businesses. Also Paradise Alley was a happening night spot that rivaled Beale St, in Memphis, Tennessee. Many whites came down from the surrounding areas to partake in great Blues and Jazz music. As great as this was for all, It would be destroyed in the name of progress. That progress had a name… I-75. This new interstate shut down a little over 350 African-American businesses and forced the people who lived there to relocate to housing projects.

That happened in the early 1900’s, Now fast forward to present day Detroit. The Housing market and financial downturn took a horrific toll on the city in 2009. Unlike most cities across the United States, Detroit is having the toughest time coming back. Mayor Kilpatrick’s scandal along with household incomes cut in half made the need for a new Detroit clear. New Mayor Mike Duggan has promised to do just that.

So a new Detroit is beginning. Construction is booming all over downtown. A new light rail system is being built on Woodward. Townhouses are being built on the riverfront to go along with a new park. Buildings downtown are being bought up by the wealthy and the few African-American businesses that were downtown have been forced out in favor of luring new lucrative tenants. What’s becoming of the neighborhoods where most African-Americans live in Detroit? Nothing. Not one improvement. Not one school reopened. No streets cleaned up, or businesses opened. Not even the Mayor’s community outreach centers he promised to open once he was elected. It appears in this new Detroit, the African-American neighborhoods are left out. The past is repeating itself with one difference, There are African-Americans with money. Those of us who are not in position are going to have lean on those who are to establish an economic foothold. There cannot be a new Detroit we can be proud of if economic racism prevails in keeping African-Americans out. Hastings Street and Paradise Alley are part of the past but if we are to recreate our economic footprint at that time, we have to assert ourselves now! Holla if you hear me!

-Kelly Greene

My Grandfather’s Words

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Even though my Grandfather’s passing  left a hole in my being, many things he told me filled the gap. It was as if his words took over when his presence transitioned to eternity. There is one story he would tell more often than others and it is this story I wish to share with you.

When World War II ended, My Grandfather Farris Green Jr returned to his home state of Mississippi. It wasn’t long before he heard of Federal money being given out to Veterans to help start out their lives after the war. He figured this money would definitely pay for a new house. So my Grandfather went down to the office to get the money he is owed as a WWII Veteran. The white man at the desk looked up at my Grandfather and said “A Nigger don’t need no house!”. This was Mississippi during the 1940’s. Segregated, racist, and proud of it. My Grandfather had no choice but to build a house, on his own, by any means necessary. He often told this story with a smile.

It wasn’t till later that I got what he was trying to say. It was more than mere boasting. He beat the establishment. He accepted not getting what he was owed. He accepted not being treated on equal footing as whites. What he did not accept was defeat. He later confided in me that had someone told him that he would live to be an old man with all these grand-kids running all over his yard, he would have went crazy. That was his acknowledgement of the rough times of doubt and uncertainty.

In the few years before his death, he was not well enough to travel to family reunions. So the family reunion came to him. Right up to his doorstep stood over 150 members of the Greene family. I could not make it myself but I saw the photographs and received the phone calls. My Kinfolk told me how he was over come with emotion as he told the whole family how much he loved them all. It was then he received his reward. The Lesson he taught me come to fruition. Accept not getting what you are owed, accept not being treated fairly, but do not accept defeat no matter how grim things may look. Your family is depending on it. My Grandfather’s words I now share with you. Holla if you hear me.

K. Greene

These Things in the Name of God

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I always respect everyone’s choice of religion or style of worship. I don’t consider myself the perfect Christian, yet I hope to inspire anyone to take a leap of faith. The word of God is the foundation of my beliefs. The blood of Jesus Christ the very source of my salvation. Whereas I understand that some of my fellow Christians may not interpret the Bible the same as myself. I have recently become aware that the same Bible I read can be misrepresented to a disturbing degree.

I hoped that the Supreme Court ruling on Same-Sex marriages would have ended the debate for good. An act of separation of church and state to quell the moral struggle in our country. My hopes proved to be too high as the most religious of men and women would deny us peace in this area. The latest individual being Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis. Mrs Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples citing her belief in God’s law. She was called into a court room to explain herself after many complaints. The judge offered compromises that would allow her to do her job without breaking the law. However, she would not be swayed and was found in contempt which landed her in jail. This was met with outrage from hardcore Christians around the United States. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with posts in support of her stand.

After a couple of days in jail, Kim Davis was released. She emerged from the building to a cheering crowd holding crosses, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” blaring over loudspeakers, and Republican Presidential Candidate hopeful Mike Huckabee standing at the podium waiting to exploit the situation for his own political agenda. As I watched Mrs. Davis praise God and urge everyone in attendance to keep up the fight, I couldn’t help to think how misguided the whole scene was.

There are many Christians who work in casinos, bars, and other professions that may be frowned upon by religious doctrine yet they have to make a living. Christians must work along side people who are atheist, homosexual, or non-christian faith in all professions. It is the fundamental belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which includes religious freedom that our country was built upon that we must respect. It is the very reason why we have separation of Church and state. So that the very freedom that we have to worship God; we give to everyone else. Even Jesus paid taxes to a government that didn’t acknowledge him nor was he disobedient to the law in return. To do so would have undermined his purpose. Kim Davis’s unwise actions led to her stance being undermined and in a sense look…. foolish. She made Christians appear unforgiving and disrespectful. She was used by Mike Huckabee for photo ops and his political agenda. In an ironic twist, The rock group Survivor has filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee for using their song “Eye of the Tiger” without permission in an event which goes against their personal beliefs.

I tell my son constantly that he is a reflection of me and he must act accordingly. It is the same with us as children of God. To those that don’t know God, we are the only representation of him. We have to love and forgive one another as he instructed us to do or nothing else we try to teach the world will be accepted. The minute we start operating without God’s love and forgiveness, we look like religious terrorists to the rest of the world. That is the most unfortunate and unacceptable outcome ever. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

The Non-Advancement of American Colored People

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Every February our country celebrates “Black History Month”. Its the usual celebration of our heritage and honoring those that trail blazed our road to freedom. Speeches by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are replayed as reminders of our struggle. For that entire month, we remind the nation what it means to be black. After watching the news lately, We have only proved what it means to be fooled.

My heart sank at the news of the South Carolina Church Massacre. As if Eric Garner’s death at the hands of police wasn’t enough. Ferguson, Baltimore, Trayvon Martin, and recently Kaleif Browder, Headline a long list of examples of institutionalized brutality against African-Americans. Now, we have a pre-meditated act of terror against innocent African-Americans murdered at church. While institutional racism is nothing new, The South Carolina church massacre sheds light on the bigger problem that is at the core of it all. The Civil Rights Movement was pacified and we have gained nothing in 50yrs.

Many people see the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as the leader in African-American rights and representation since it’s founding in 1909. The NAACP was highly involved in the organization of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s and very involved in politics. Being highly involved in politics is a good thing. Many white politicians consider an endorsement from the NAACP a priority in securing the African-American vote. The problem here is while the NAACP endorses these candidates, The African-American community receives nothing from these candidates. You can go to any city and see the evidence for yourself. Especially here in Detroit.

I can easily blame ourselves for how we vote but I want the NAACP to be stronger with our voice. It’s been a year since Ferguson and another unarmed black college student is killed, protesters are arrested, and police brutality continue to plague our community. Be the NAACP of old. Lead us, organize us, force legislation! Official statements are useless. Holla if you hear me!!!

-K Greene

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

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I have been sitting back in utter horror as I see our community rip itself apart. I shouldn’t have been surprised however, the Republicans have been stirring the pot for a while now. It was bound to bubble over. Since President Obama’s first day in office, Republicans have been coaxing closet racists out of hiding to spread their disrespect in the name of votes. They also used Fox News to rally and misinform their followers. The next part of their plan was to get African Americans to vote against President Obama. Getting Black folk to vote against a Black man would seem impossible but not so. Their plan will be hatched in the church. The strength of the African American community.

The Republicans needed strong bait to lure the church in and the subject of Gay Marriage was that bait. The Republicans touted a moral standing(Even-though they are far from moral) on all their issues, Especially on Gay Marriage. The President stood in support of Marriage Equality as most of America did, I always knew it was coming. Our high divorce rates, out of control domestic violence cases, and the backlog of child support cases proved that we as heterosexuals didn’t appreciate the sanctity of marriage anyway. Also, At the base of everything, Separation of Church and State. The Republicans dragged the church into a fight it couldn’t win and now, Members of the LGBT and Church communities wage verbal war. Many families are now split

One evening in South Carolina, racism guided a young white male into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historic black church, and Murder 9 people during a Bible study. That young man even noted how well he was treated by the members of the church before he opened fire on them. He felt this was necessary because Blacks were taking over the United States and raping white women, His social media photos were of himself posing with the Confederate Flag. A civil war relic which symbolizes the South’s commitment to slavery and hatred of African Americans. It is this horrific act that has changed the nation’s view towards the confederate flag as a symbol of hate. Yet the Republicans refuse to acknowledge this massacre as racially motivated. Any conversations on racism would shine the light on their actions over President Obama’s tenure, Actions that could have very well inspired young Dylann Roof to walk into an African American church and start shooting.

I was really at a loss for words, The United States didn’t feel like 2015. In fact, I would say more like 1965. Whether it be law enforcement or the racists burning churches in the south, African Americans are very much under attack. The LGBT community won a big victory then came under fire from the African American churches who have their hands full with the racists in the south and their own internal conflicts. Peace between human beings seems at this point seems impossible. Until Facebook gave me an epiphany.

I was looking at my profile on Facebook and had an epiphany. To the left under “Friends” 9 pics gave me clarity. These were pics of 9 of the 1,200 “Friends” that I have. There was a Bishop, A prophet, A prominent LGBT Author and one of my closest friends. A former co Worker, An Atheist, An old friend, A community Activist, and a pretty cool white guy. What do these folks have in common? Me. I have spoken to each one on several occasions. We have shared thoughts, laughs, and concerns over many topics, Why is this so hard for America? Why can’t someone start a conversation with another person and exchange dialogue, I have no problem going anywhere and starting a conversation with another human being. Even in rural Michigan where you may see the Confederate Flag on occasion, I see it constantly during my day job. But I hold out hope that other people like me will start to rise up. My fellow communicators who only judge on content of character and not race or sexual preference. It will be us communicators who will be the glue in years to come, Those of us who believe in only one thing… We were all created equal in his image and that is all that matters. Holla if you hear me! .

-K. Greene

A Thought

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I have heard an old saying in reference to African-Americans. It states that we are like crabs in a bucket pulling each other down. Upon further study of crabs, I have made a new conclusion.

The immediate question is why the hell are crabs in the bucket? Crabs don’t live in buckets. I have seen them near oceans just doing what crabs do. They are not overly aggressive animals prowling the beach looking to snap at other crabs or terrorize tourist. They keep to themselves mostly only venturing out to find food or a mate. During certain times of the year, you can catch them moving in unison across the beach like an army. Yet pulling each other down or hindering another’s movements is not among it’s activities. If a crab ends up in a bucket, Its usually because someone has plans on making that crab dinner. Given the size of crabs, that someone would need quite a few crabs to make a meal. So now you have a bunch of crabs piled on top of one another, fighting for their lives.

We African-Americans are very similar. When left alone, we tend to keep to ourselves and live pretty normal. However, we are constantly being put in a bucket. This bucket is not made of metal or wood but of far more sinister materials.  This bucket we are being put in is made of racism, income inequality, poverty, cuts in education funding, racial profiling, police brutality, and injustice. Also like the crab, we are fighting for our lives. So we struggle frantically and some violently for a way out.

That is one of the reasons I write this blog. This is my way of kicking over the bucket, I write so that the way out is attainable without having to pull our neighbors down along the way. Yet there are those that choose to stay in the bucket. They were born there, raised there, and more than likely will die there.  They have become accustomed to the bucket and will choose to live there. Institutionalized in their own homes. This is also why I hate stereotypes. Some find it easier to lump people up in one big pot rather than treat  everyone as an equal. Next time you hear someone lumping a group of folks together in a comment, keep brother crab in mind. Listen to the substance of the bucket people are being put in then ask yourself a question: Am I a cruel person that admires the bucket or am I a conscience person that helps people find tools on how to get out? Holla if you Hear Me!

K.Greene

 

 

2015

 

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I have been quietly observing the start of the new year. Of course, I had to giggle a little bit at all the Facebook posts of New Years resolutions and promises. I won’t remember if they kept them by December 31st but I doubt they will either. In my opinion, New Years resolutions are more customary than they are kept. However, every now an then someone surprises me and actually follows through. If you made one, I wish you all due success! This year, there are a few things I am going to look for a follow through on. I felt like 2014 was a lot like the middle movie of a trilogy.  In fact, the movie “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”(1980) comes to mind.

In 2014, the empire indeed struck back. The empire I speak of is the empire of racism. It would be easy to lay all of this at the feet of the Republican party but I will get to them in a minute. Young African-Americans have always been the target of police brutality and racial profiling. However, 2014 became the year murdering young blacks became frequent by law enforcement. Also some instances have been caught on tape and no charges filed against the officers. It was as if killing young African-Americans was just part of the job. The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in New York gave birth to the “Black Likes Matter” movement which has led to peaceful protests around the globe. In 2015, I will be looking to see how long will “Black Lives Matter” last. Does it have the right people involved to keep it going? How will African-Americans respond?

The republican party took 2014 by storm in the Elections. They did a great job using low African-American voter turnout along with convincing White voters that President Obama only has the intention of helping African-Americans and the LGBT community. The Republicans have done such a good job, that they control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. All bills must now go through them. Including any that involve regulating police brutality and racial profiling. President Obama called for a task force to look into the Michael Brown situation. Yet I fear it is too little, too late. Islamic terrorist have struck new targets in Paris and Nigeria. Also the Isis situation in the Middle East  has not made any progress. The President’s attention will be heavily focused in this area. This year I am looking forward to Attorney General Eric Holder’s report on Ferguson, MO. I wonder how will he proceed if he finds civil rights violations. I bring this issue up because this is the last calendar year President Obama can make any progress. A new president will be elected in 2016 and the Republican empire will do everything it can to make sure any thing President Obama does, meets a quick death.  In this area, I will be looking for our President to move swiftly to put us in a better place as a nation before Republican greed seals our fate.

Most importantly, I am going to be looking at my fellow human beings real close this year. Last year we made a lot of mistakes. We have not advanced at all as a people. Last year, we fought and clawed at each other for the dumbest of reasons. I am looking for those who realize all life matters. I want to embrace those who realize our country’s value is it’s people and not the wealthy. Yes in 2014, we were successfully divided and those who would profit from it have a stronghold on our culture. In 2015, I wonder…. who will realize that we are all in this together. Holla if you hear me.

K. Greene

Black Lives and Blue Rules

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“Breathe young man…. Breathe.” I kept telling myself this as I watched the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. The swelling of the crowd and the charged emotions appeared to overflow into my living room. However, the situation was deep in my heart.  Like most African-Americans, I kept my eyes on the TV awaiting word  if justice would take its course. Michael Brown’s mother stood on top of a car to hear the prosecutor’s hollow words. Justice will not come this night. Nor will peace to Ferguson Missouri. Her screams of anger gave way to uncontrollable tears of pain. Once family and supporters hugged Brown’s mother and whisked her away, the looting and unrest began. Everything I wrote about in the blog “Close to Combustion’ was coming to fruition.

Nothing blinds you more than anger.

I was consumed. Everything became black and white. I looked at the world I enjoyed with scrutiny rooted in spite. I felt alienated by the very law that is sworn to serve and protect me. I am far from naïve. Racial profiling and disproportionate sentences are common but for the first time, I felt it had been rubbed in the face of every African-American. Also in light of several instances of police brutality, some fatal, Black America has had enough. Now a couple weeks later, we learned that the Officer that killed Eric Garner by chokehold (Which was ruled a homicide by the coroner) will not face charges as well. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” became our new rallying cry and peaceful protests manifested all over the world.

God given clarity.

I went to church with current events still causing moments of concern. Peace was not coming to me at all. Bishop Corletta Vaughn made Black Lives Matter part of her sermon for the day. During her message, she said something that shook loose my thoughts “What if Michael Brown had got out of the street like Officer Wilson asked him to do at first?”. Yes, I forgot about that nugget of information and things became clear. We obviously have racist policies regarding African-Americans and law enforcement. What we need to do is take ourselves out of the equation by simply obeying and respecting the law. We have to walk that uncomfortable fine line. If black lives truly matter to us, we have to live it. We have to be better mentors, parents, and leaders. Teaching our young people to respect the law and each other must become paramount! A lot is riding on this. When the police pulls us or our young people over, we have to be spotless. This will make their racism more blatant. Right now, each case has a probable cause element to it. That has to be removed in order to make our accusations stick. There has to be some accountability to go along with our protests. Who knows, we may even turn around some bad seeds in our own community in the progress

Law enforcement has a taste for blood.

Our protests have been heard and met with opposition. Professional athletes have worn the “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts and took the playing fields with their hands up in support of the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In each city, law enforcement has called these actions disrespectful to police officers. I was taken aback by this! Protecting and serving is no longer the motto. Execution and death during apprehension is totally accepted whereas rouge cops where once punished for it, In 1992, Officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn were charged and convicted of second degree murder in the beating death of Malice Green. Today they would have gone free. Now, 2 NYPD officers have been ambushed and killed. The police chief wants “Wartime” Status. It appears the NYPD wants their way or else! We will give them the “Or Else” option. However, it will be peacefully in the spirit of Martin Luther King with the intensity of Malcolm X and our minds on the future. Holla if you hear me!

– K. Greene

Clear Wisdom

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I wonder how many people understand this picture? I mean, really put it in proper context. I know you are wondering what I am getting at? Trust me, when I am done, the chaos referred to in this picture will become clear. I heard the quote once before but now as I see it scroll down my Facebook feed,  reality was once again there to greet me.

People often complain about the news and the stories they cover. Many see news media as simply reaping their ratings from consistently reporting on the ugliness of people. It is the same with reality shows such as Real Housewives of wherever, Anything on VH1,  and Maury with his DNA test to see the winners and losers of his “Baby Daddy” searches. Those are just the domestic examples. Now let’s throw in the pot the stock market, the economy, and war abroad.  All those things come together nicely in a chaos soup that we are being force-fed daily. The even crazier part is the fact that we are the Chefs. We asked for all of this. We ordered the ingredients necessary to feed our appetites for drama, selfishness, and wealth. We have to have these things by any means necessary especially if it will make you rich and famous! That’s why the words in the picture are so powerful!

“People were created to be loved.

Things were created to be used.

The reason why the world is in chaos

is because things are being loved

and people are being used.”

The wisdom in this statement cannot be anymore clearer! We can care less about our fellow-man. When it comes to our wants, needs, and greed, we will sacrifice and use anybody.  People get married for wealth. Some folks sell out their friends for a good story. Then there are those that will kill someone else for a large inheritance or a small reputation. Racism and prejudice are used to belittle one group of people in favor of another for all sorts of advantages. There are those men who feel the need rape and beat a woman to make them feel like a man. If a person decides to live a different way than us, it is customary to ridicule that person before understanding that person. Provided we even care after all of the ridicule. The potential to own a luxury car and a big house is worth more than a few hundred people. Don’t believe me? Ask your local politician. Better yet, watch him. He will show you before he will tell you.

There you have all the chaos your news media and reality shows need.  We feed these things with our own desires. I wonder what will happen if we desire to love each other and actually use things. What if  owning a Corvette and Mansion meant nothing if a few hundred had to suffer in order for you to have it? What if people were loved and money was used instead of money being loved and people being used? I hope one day we use clear wisdom and put an end to chaos.  I admit I am hoping for a lot but it’s worth it. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

 

 

We Still Must Rise

 

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The literary community lost a giant in Maya Angelou.  It shook me not because of legacy she left, but the future of the literary arts going forward.  Ms. Angelou’s timeless wisdom poured out in her writing as water from a fountain.  Little did she know that her writing would nourish us all.

I admit some frustration in my work as of late. My words didn’t seem to fit their arrangement. The voice I had built in my writing now became as a foreign language.  A writer without his words is like a singer without a song.  Writer’s block is what it’s commonly called.  Maya Angelou’s death shattered that block.  The reason I love to write became clear.  Words spoken can be easily forgotten.  However, Words well written last forever.  People die but words do not.  The proper words could Inspire, Destroy, Teach, or Create.  A poem could bring true love or warn of moral doom.  This led me to a chilling realization.  The Literary arts are in danger.

Social media has the world communicating like never before.  Facebook and Twitter has been leading the way and that scares me.  A thought has a 140 character limit so it is hacked to death in illegible, slang-ridden shorthand.  Facebook is littered with rants absent of punctuation and heavy laden in misspelling. The thoughts they are trying to convey become a mass of twisted prepositional phrases void of direction.  This is now how we communicate and how can we communicate like this? Are we to write books and poetry like this as well?

Maya Angelou’s shoes are too big for one person to fill.  We all have to. Everyone inspired by her writing must honor her memory by holding true to our craft.  We have to be the ones that use our words to inspire, create, uplift, warn, and encourage.   As writers, we have to show the world the proper way to communicate.  Our words have to pass our wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the ages with clarity and definition.  Brother and Sister Writers, There will not be another Maya Angelou.  She left a legacy to inspire us for we still must Rise!  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

P.S. New Twitter handle!! @KellyGLive72

Trayvon Martin

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AT 17 I HAD BIG DREAMS,

I HAD A GIRLFRIEND; I MADE THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM,

I HAD A FAMILY THAT LOVED ME.

I HAD  ONLY A PACK OF SKITTLES AND AN ICED TEA.

I DIDN’T KNOW WHY HE WAS CHASING ME.

I DON’T KNOW WHY HE IGNORED MY PLEAS.

THERE HE SHOT ME AND THERE I LAY.

THE POLICE CAME OUT  SAID EVERYTHING IS OKAY.

WHY DO I HAVE TO DIE?

WHY DOES HE GO FREE?

I AM TRAYVON MARTIN…WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR ME?

-K. Greene

A Prayer For My City

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Dear Lord,

I come to you on behalf of thousands who are in need.  For all those who have lost much and gained little.  For all those who have worked hard but rewarded with less.  For every man, woman, and child in Detroit abused or distressed.

 I pray for their hearts: May they be strengthened.  That they remain encouraged and strong in weathering our social and financial storm.  So they may find comfort in one another.

 I pray for their minds: May they be open to change.  Stimulate their thirst for knowledge and wisdom. 

 I pray for their homes: May they be allowed to keep them.  They need a safe place to rest their weary bodies and minds.  A place to shield and nurture their children. Keep the greed of banks at bay.  Instruct the banks in the ways of forgiveness and mercy.  

  Lord I pray for the Police and Fire Departments that you may bless their work.  Let them know that they are making a difference in spite of the pay cuts and sacrifices they had to make. 

I pray for the prosperity of my city. We need back the jobs that were taken by greed and selfishness. We need our school system returned to health so our children can be inspired by new books and teachers.  May old tattered books be a thing of the past.  Pass your blessings to teachers willing to teach and instruct our children. 

I pray that your hand spreads throughout our streets and wipe away the stench of murder and grief.  That tears of sorrow be replaced by smiles of hope. I pray that differences be put aside and instead of hands grabbing weapons; hands working together for the good of us all!   In all these things I pray, AMEN!

   Pray if you hear me!

                              – K. Greene

Reading,Writing, and Water

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I was writing a new piece when I finally had enough. The news became more and more unbearable each time it was reported and for the first time in a long time… I hated to be right. I never liked Governor Rick Snyder. I saw his disdain for the lower class and minorities evident throughout every move he made. Now those moves have risen to the surface. Invested in apathy and interest paid for by the health of thousands of Michigan residents.
Currently, Detroit Public School teachers fed up with the conditions of the schools and laughable wages have staged “Sick outs” to call attention to the matter. Detroit Public Schools are under an Emergency Manager appointed by Governor Snyder in order to help the school district while it is severely in debt. Help only in word and not deed. For the past 6yrs, Detroit Public Schools continued to fall deeper into decay. Molds and fungus grow wild in the hallways. The very same hallways kids have to use for gym class because the gymnasium is no longer suitable due to leaking roof and warped, molded floor. Some schools have no heat, old books. Teachers have to come out of pocket for toilet paper and school supplies for the children. Their salaries barely supporting their own households. How would you feel if your child went to school and these are the conditions that they were forced to learn in?

An hours drive north of Detroit and another Emergency Manager appointed by Governor Snyder has committed the unthinkable. It has been known for the past two years that Flint’s water supply was in dire straits. In fact, General Motors abandoned using Flints water in 2014 for their plant citing pollutants in the water. Like his counterpart in Detroit Public Schools, he was in no hurry to turn things around. In fact, it was a doctor’s report on the high levels of lead in children that sparked outrage. Then there were the reports of over 80 cases of Legionaries disease with 10 fatalities due to the polluted water. It is estimated that it will take $41 million to replace all the corroded pipes causing the contamination. Which is all the pipes in the city. Darnell Early was the Emergency Manager in Flint and of course Governor Snyder had to remove him. Yet Snyder felt Early was a good man and made him the new Emergency Manager of … You guessed it, Detroit Public Schools.

Governor Snyder has apologized and in turn blamed bureaucrats for anything he could but the damage is done and his part is plain as the pain in the faces of Flint’s residents. Faces that echo the ultimate betrayal of leadership. Snyder’s lack of respect for minorities and the poor came swiftly when he appointed Emergency Managers over Flint,Pontiac,Detroit, and Benton Harbor shortly after his first term as Governor. Now we see the fruits of his decisions. Promise fair oversight but deliver unfair dispensation. Promise an investment of resources but deny the resources necessary. Emergency Management is nothing more than suspending democracy in favor of his friends. Namely the rich and Republican. The rest of us can drink the water. Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene